Feature

Making Suva More Accessible For The Elderly And Disabled

Fiji Disabled People’s Federation president Joshko Wakaniyasi believes investment in wheelchair accessibility across the capital should be seriously considered in town planning.
16 Nov 2019 14:27
Making Suva More Accessible For The Elderly And Disabled
Joshko Wakaniyasi (left), the president of the Fiji Disabled People’s Federation and founding member of the Spinal Injuries Association during the 19th Attorney-General’s Conference at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Natadola. Photo: Office of the Attorney-General

Planning and turning Suva into an inclusive zone by making it more accessible for the disabled and elderly will promote positive economic growth.

Fiji Disabled People’s Federation president Joshko Wakaniyasi believes investment in wheelchair accessibility across the capital should be seriously considered in town planning.

He said there is a reason why most people do not get off the cruise liners when it calls into Suva.

“Most of the people that come on cruise liners are elderly people, so if you make it accessible for them and then they can come off the boats with their fancy motorised equipment,” Mr Wakaniyasi said.

“There should be some real thought about making areas accessible from the wharf to the market and all the way up to the seawall.

“If it is going to cost millions of dollars to do this, I am pretty sure that within five years we can get that money back. And you start to do the same for Lautoka and Nadi.”

Mr Wakaniyasi said the benefits of having an inclusive city in terms of accessibility helps the economy, as well as provides benefits for other citizens.

“This will also benefit pregnant mothers, the elderly, and the disabled. In the long term, what this will mean is that the elderly who are confined to home are able to get access to facilities,” he said.

“Accessible toilet facilities and other amenities will also ensure longer healthier lives.”

Mr Wakaniyasi said a lot has been done for the disadvantaged in the last decade but a serious investment is needed to bring it up to par with international standards.

Edited by Susana Tuilau

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